The Required Textbook Friend Or Foe? Dealing With The Dilemma

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Deborah Skinner
Barbara Howes


Textbooks, Reading Habits, Textbook Usage, College Students, E-text


The use of a required text is an accepted practice in most college courses, but two-thirds of the students are coming to class without reading the textbook, some of them never buying the textbook at all. A review of the literature about textbook usage and student reading habits provides a comparison between how faculty and students view the pros and cons of the required textbook. The analysis suggests faculty and students share the general benefits of textbook usage (e.g., knowledge, consistent material, accessible) but that those benefits are countered by several personal costs from the student perspective. The pros and cons are explained and recommendations offered to help deal with students concerns. A brief consideration of alternative strategies is presented.


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